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Convents, art, and creole identity in late viceregal new Spain

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Chapter Summary

The nuns of the convents of New Spain were patrons and practitioners of a variety of art forms, including music, drama, architecture, painting, sculpture, and embroidery. This chapter focuses on a cluster of innovative visual practices developed in and around the colonial convents by Mexico's creole elite. In the eighteenth century, with the convents in decline and the creole elite struggling to deal with the reforms of the Bourbon monarchy, a second new genre of art, the monja coronada (crowned nun) portrait tradition was invented by the families of the nuns. Monja coronada paintings put the image of the Mexican nuns and their distinctive costumes and ritual practices on permanent and near life-size display in the palatial homes of the creole elite.

Keywords: Bourbon monarchy; colonial convents; Mexico's creole elite; Monja coronada paintings



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